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$10,653 - $13,633
$34,800 - $42,370

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful engine in C350  
  • Composed ride and handling
  • Premium interior materials
  • Small trunk in sedan
  • Unintuitive navigation system

New for 2012

  • Refreshed interior and exterior styling
  • New coupe body style
  • New C250 trim
  • More powerful V6 in C350 trim
  • C300 now only available with AWD
  • New automated manual transmission in C63




Critics' Rating: 9.0
Performance: 8.2
Interior: 7.7
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
Safety: 8.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Overview

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is available in sedan and coupe body styles. The C250 comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that test drivers agreed has adequate power. Reviewers noted that the V6 in the C300 is a bit more powerful, but agreed that the more powerful V6 in the C350 is very potent and responsive. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes standard with a seven-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive comes on the C300. The performance-oriented C63 AMG has a V8 engine and a seven-speed automated manual transmission. The C250 gets an EPA-estimated 21/31 mpg city/highway, which is on par for a four-cylinder, upscale midsize car. Test drivers reported that the C-Class has a smooth ride and, while not the most athletic car available, is composed during cornering and has precise steering.

Most reviewers were impressed with the quality of the materials lining the 2012 C-Class' cabin, and noted that models with wood trim and two-tone color schemes have a sense of luxury and warmth. Test drivers wrote that rear-seat legroom is adequate in the sedan, but the coupe offers too little rear-seat head- and legroom, which is a common complaint about coupes. The C-Class sedan has 12.4 cubic feet of trunk space, which is a bit small for this class. Standard features in the 2012 C-Class sedan include a sunroof, a 5.8-inch central display screen, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, HD Radio, Bluetooth, a USB port and Attention Assist, which can detect when the driver is getting drowsy. Available features include leather upholstery, heated front seats, satellite radio, a Harman/Kardon surround-sound audio system, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, a rearview camera, navigation and Mercedes’ COMAND infotainment system. Some reviewers said the COMAND system is easy to use, but others found the navigation system has a somewhat steep learning curve.

Other Cars to Consider

Reviewers agreed that the 2012 BMW 3-Series is one of the most fun-to-drive cars on the market, with powerful turbocharged engine options, nimble handling and strong brakes. They also appreciated its comfortable interior, which features luxurious materials and very spacious rear seats.

Test drivers wrote that the 2012 Audi A4 feels peppy with its standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Unlike the C-Class, the A4 comes standard with leather upholstery, and critics agreed it has an attractive and elegant interior design.

Compare the C-Class, 3-Series and A4 »


Best 2012 Luxury Small Cars

  • #1

    2012 Acura TSX

    $14,121 - $17,934 AVG. PAID

    You can only compare 3 cars at a time.
  • #1

    2012 Audi A4

    $12,445 - $16,128 AVG. PAID

    You can only compare 3 cars at a time.
  • #8

    2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

    $11,259 - $14,234 AVG. PAID

    You can only compare 3 cars at a time.
See the full 2012 Luxury Small Cars rankings »

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